Positive, humane and expeditious? An analysis of Ireland’s implementation of its obligations in relation to family reunification under the CRC
This paper will examine legislative and policy provisions relating to family reunification of persons granted international protection in Ireland and whether these comply with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). For the most part, the families involved can only hope to reunite in Ireland because return to the country of origin or a third country is impossible. Although the principle of family unity is generally expected in human rights instruments, the CRC is the only widely ratified international human rights instrument to include specific articles addressing the issue of family reunification, and this paper will assess compliance with those articles, and with the core principles obliging states to ensure that the views of children must be heard in all matters relating to them, and making “the best interests of the child” a primary consideration in all decisions concerning children. It will also address the issue of how Ireland’s implementation of its obligations under the CRC in respect to family reunification cannot be addressed in isolation from its policies to reduce the number of asylum claims which have seen the number of applications fall in 2010 for the eighth successive year, and its failure until relatively recently to provide adequate care and support for separated children seeking asylum.